Leichardtia australis R.Br.
Marsdenia australis, commonly known as the bush banana, silky pear or green vine is an Australian native plant. It is found in Central Australia and throughout Western Australia. It is a bush tucker food used by Indigenous Australians.
M. australis has many different names in Aboriginal languages. In the Arrernte language of Central Australia; merne alangkwe (older transcription: elonka), merne ulkantyerrknge (the flowers) and merne altyeye (the prefix merne signifies plant food). In Karrajari, Nyulnyul and Yawuru it is called 'Magabala'. It can be eaten small or fully grown. The small fruits are called amwerterrpe. Kalgoorlie, Western Australia takes its name from the a Wangai word, Karlkurla, meaning "place of the silky pears".
The flowers hang in clusters and can also be eaten, as can the main part of the plant (altyeye in Arrernte).
Bush bananas are cooked in hot earth beside the fire or eaten raw when young (the flavour has been likened to fresh peas). The root of the plant is called Merne atnetye and can also be eaten raw or cooked. The very white roots are cooked in the hot earth close to the fire.
All parts of the bush banana plant are still eaten in the desert today.
One of the significant bush food for the Indigenous Aboriginal people of Australia, the food is often depicted in current Aboriginal art, especially paintings about 'bush tucker', as well as 'Bush Banana Dreaming' paintings.
- "Marsdenia australis". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government, Canberra. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- Peter Kenneth Latz, Jenny Green, "Bushfires & Bushtucker: Aboriginal Plant Use in Central Australia", IAD Press, 1995, ISBN 0-949659-83-5
- Baldwin Spencer, Francis James Gillen, "The Arunta: a study of a stone age people", Macmillan, 1927, repr. Anthropological Publications, 1966, p.311
- Merrilee Lands, "Mayi: Some Bush Fruits of the West Kimberley" Magabala Books, 1997, p.3
- Aboriginal Symbols. Bush Banana - Indigenous Australia - Iconography and Symbols